Alcohol poisoning is a very serious and potentially deadly condition that can happen when someone consumes a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time.
It can happen to anyone, regardless of whether they have consumed alcohol before. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the signs of alcohol poisoning as well as how long it can last and the recovery process as this guide sets out. What’s more, if you are at risk or concerned about someone you care for, we reveal some guidance on alcohol addiction prevention and how you can get the help you need. To find out how long does alcohol poisoning last for, read more.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
As mentioned above, recognising the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning is often the first step in getting help and getting onto the path of recovery. While it’s important to remember that the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning can vary in severity, the most common indications include:
- Confusion – Individuals may feel disoriented, struggle to stay awake and find it difficult to respond to questions
- Sickness and vomiting – Repeated vomiting can occur and can lead to choking and dehydration
- Seizures – While a serious symptom, seizures can occur and require immediate medical attention
- Irregular breathing – Users may struggle to breathe or experience slow or even stopped breathing
- Hypothermia – Individuals can experience feeling cold, shivering, and pale skin
- Hypoglycemia – Alcohol poisoning can result in low blood sugar levels which can then lead to seizures or unconsciousness
- Unconsciousness – In severe cases, individuals may become unresponsive and lose consciousness.
One of the biggest risks associated with alcohol poisoning is that individuals can become very unwell quickly. Symptoms can get worse very quickly which is why early intervention and medical help are required to prevent serious health conditions or even death. The more alcohol that is consumed, the higher the risk of alcohol poisoning too which is why statistics surrounding binge drinking are so shocking.
In fact, around 30% of adults in the UK, aged 16-64, have admitted to binge drinking meaning a large proportion of adults in the country are at risk of alcohol poisoning and the associated risks.
In addition to this, figures show that nearly 10% of young people aged between 11-15 drink every week and 1% consume alcohol on four or more days in a given week, again meaning they too are at risk of alcohol poisoning.
How Long Does Alcohol Poisoning Last For?
As well as the various symptoms of alcohol poisoning, the duration of symptoms can vary too. It all depends on the amount of alcohol consumed, the type of alcohol, individual factors and how fast someone receives medical attention. Typically, alcohol poisoning lasts from a few hours up to a day but in more severe cases it can last for several days.
The below factors can influence how long alcohol poisoning lasts:
- Alcohol consumption – The more alcohol that someone consumes, the longer alcohol poisoning is likely to last. What’s more, the type of alcohol consumed can also impact how long symptoms last for.
- Individual tolerance – Those with a higher tolerance of alcohol may experience alcohol poisoning for a shorter amount of time compared to those who have a lower tolerance.
- Medical intervention – The quicker someone receives help, the quicker their symptoms will be reduced and the better chances they have at full recovery.
- Supportive care – Hydration, rest and appropriate care will help the body to process alcohol poisoning and recover in a quicker amount of time.
It’s important to be aware of the statistics surrounding alcohol too. In the UK, every year, there are millions of hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption. In 2019 alone, over 1.26 million hospital admissions were associated with alcohol. What’s more, thousands of deaths occur because of alcohol-related conditions including chronic conditions like liver disease.
The Recovery From Alcohol Poisoning
There are several stages of alcohol poisoning recovery. This includes:
- Immediate medical care – In severe cases, individuals may require hospital treatment for their alcohol poisoning symptoms. Here, medical professionals will monitor vital signs, administer medications and fluids and deal with any complications.
- Detoxification – Once the initial phase of alcohol poisoning has passed, the body will naturally begin to metabolise and eliminate alcohol. During this phase, it’s essential that you stay hydrated to help flush out any additional toxins.
- Rest and nutrition – As with any health condition, during recovery, it’s essential that individuals get the appropriate rest to help their body repair. A healthy and balanced diet can also replenish the body of essential nutrients that have been removed by alcohol. It will also help promote the body’s natural healing process.
- Monitoring – Even if symptoms of alcohol poisoning are reducing, it’s important to keep a close eye on anything serious. This includes dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and organ damage which all require medical attention.
- Mental health support – Alcohol poisoning can cause a number of mental and emotional effects which is why you might find it beneficial to seek support from a professional or a counselling group.
Addiction Prevention and Seeking Help
It is important to know that alcohol overuse can lead to an alcohol addiction which is why it’s important to practise responsible drinking to reduce the risk of addiction and alcohol poisoning. Be aware of your own limits and avoid consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. It’s also important to stay hydrated before, during and after drinking alcohol to limit its effects and pace your drinking too.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, then getting the right help fast is essential. What’s more, we offer support and guidance for people like you. We can also help you to find support groups and local helplines for the necessary information and resources, as well as that all-important person to listen to. With the right help, you can get your life back on track though and recover from addiction and alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning can be very serious but with the right intervention, you can recover quickly and safely. It just requires you to know the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning as well as the best ways to prevent it from happening. Above all, drinking responsibly, getting help for addiction and knowing your limits can all help to keep you safe. Get in touch today if you think you have an alcohol addiction and require treatment.